What is soft tissue therapy? How is it different from massage and how can it benefit me?
Soft tissue therapy (STT) is the management, manipulation and rehabilitation of soft tissues of the body including muscles, tendons and ligaments. This mode of treatment is valuable to anyone, not just athletes or performers, as it requires the assessment, analysis and application through a treatment plan, to treat the individual in a way that is best for their recovery or treatment aims.
Within this context there are many ways STT could benefit you because as stated above you treat the individual in front you, as a client centred approach to STT, and not just the sport they play, job they do or activity they engage in. This is vital as there are many aspects within our lives which will affect our soft tissues physically via the interaction of our own biological, social and psychological factors. This is where STT can be a real asset to optimise our quality of life.
STT therapy is massage, it incorporates all types and modes of massage, but isn’t limited to just massage. As a result it is far more versatile and beneficial as a soft tissue practitioner would be assessing all aspects of the individuals life to ensure a traitored individual approach was taken for them. It could be the case that it requires a more in depth assessment of their lifestyle factors to help the individual realise how changes could help them in the long term along with hands on massage. Then possibly management techniques like engaging in relaxation activities or rehabilitation exercises. It could be to address a minor or chronic musculoskeletal issue so an assessment of the individual, subject and objective measures taken and then fed into an appropriate massage treatment and advice on movement and activity to aid in the long term.
So STT is far more than just a massage, its looking at the reason an individual is attending the appointment and really facilitating them to achieve that long term, whether is relaxation from a stressful life, recovery from a specific injury, relief from persistent pain, maintain their current health and wellbeing. Combing massage with a wider reaching awareness of the integration of how our lifestyle, attitudes, movement, activity and knowledge interact and affect us really makes STT more powerful than massage alone.
But don’t be put off thinking your going to be preached to or judged, it’s a safe space to explore as much or as little as you want all being grounded around a massage treatment that is aimed to make you feel better regardless. It would be tailored to the clients preferences, what the therapist assesses to be the appropriate way to achieve the intended outcome and an open dialogue between the two to fine tune the outcome. So the appointment will include a detailed clinical conversation regarding the clients lifestyle, assessment for indicators that would require onward referral, appropriate assessment of any injury and movements then on to treatment. This would include soft tissue massage and working with the client on the couch laying possibly seated or even standing and incorporating movement and exercises depending on what presents. This could include many forms of massage and not limited to just one style. So it’s a combination of massage techniques used in holistic massage as the foundation for all massage and then working with a ‘tool box’ of techniques applied appropriately to the individual and their needs. This could be more gentle mobilisations, myofascial techniques, soft tissue release or more specific techniques such as muscle energy techniques, positional release, tigger points or deeper controlled pressure to gain results. Regardless of how and what massage is applied the overall aim is to have an overall benefit. These range from improved sleep, decreased anxiety, increased body awareness, improved wellbeing, reduced stiffness, reduced stress, increased range of movement, increased confidence in movement, improved function, reduced fear of movement, the list goes on. Its far more than just the physical benefits too. After the soft tissue massage there will be time to review the process and advise/discussion on possible ways to improve on these benefits with the therapist coaching you in possible and simple changes, in lifestyle factors such as sleep, stress, work, activity, meaningful exercise and specific exercises if its to help with a specific injury. All of which are to support you in feeling better in the long term
So over all what is STT, it's more than massage, it's looking at you as a person not just a body to massage and considering you as a whole to help you achieve your purpose for your visit, whether to relax, heal, rehab or recover.
I am now offering soft tissue therapy appointments out of 2 treatment rooms in Clifton and Westbury park as well as mobile appointment coming to individuals homes or places of work in the capacity of staff wellness packages. If you are interested in booking an appointment, then please contact me via the info on my website to discuss how I may be able to help you.